Monthly Archives: January 2011

A rant about music

For the past weeks or two I’ve been contemplating doing a 2010 music post. Not necessarily what I thought were the top 10 albums or anything, but more like my soundtrack of 2010. I still might. First though, I need to get a thing or two off my chest..

Number one. I believe that music is made to be shared (we’ll get into the legal vs illegal debate later) but it can also be an intensely personal and private thing. I’ve made friends through music, and sometimes there’s nothing better than a chat about what you’re currently listening to or what you bought last.

Introducing others to music is all part of it too. A lot of new music is discovered via word of mouth, from friends’ recommendations or listening to some records while in someone’s house or at a gig or whatever. Not wanting to sound too corny here, but I honestly believe a strong bond is created when people share music. It’s unspoken, but it’s just there.

Which brings me onto the slightly contradictory point of music being private and personal. I’m not talking about a couple having ‘their song’, but more so that people can become extremely emotionally attached to a song or album. Music can be a stronger reminder of an event or a period in someone’s life or a person than any photo or diary entry or physical thing. I know people will disagree with me here and say the idea is ridiculous, but I understand why certain people may want to keep certain music to themselves.  It may be the most over-played Lady Gaga song or an obscure classical song; it doesn’t matter. To that person, this album may have changed their lives, helped them through the tough times, or might just serve as the most effective reminder of some time in the past. People can be protective of and slightly possessive over music, but that’s why it’s so important.

Number two. I far, far prefer to listen to music on a CD than on my laptop. It usually takes that little bit longer to find the CD you want and put it into the player, but it all adds to the true experience that listening to music should be. If that record player sitting in the corner of this room actually worked, I’d go for vinyl, but for now, it’s CDs. At least they’re a million times better than MP3s.

I see people with iPods full of stolen music. I’m the first to put my hand up and say that yes, I was a semi-regular downloader at one stage, but not any more. I can see why people, especially younger people, feel the need to obtain music for free. The media never shut up about how easy it is to download illegally, and with people trying their hardest to save a few pennies it’s inevitable that spending on entertainment will be hit.

It annoys me. It really does. I feel sorry for these people too though. When you buy a CD or a record, you part with your hard earned cash, so it makes sense that you’ll value the music. You’ll make an effort to listen to it, get to know it, develop an opinion on it. It’s a physical object too. You can leaf through the inlay, examine the artwork, read the lyrics or notes while you listen, the list goes on.. You download an album without leaving the comfort of your couch, listen to it once, and then forget it’s there. Also, depending on where you buy it, picking out a record and buying it is an event in itself. You talk to other music fans about the artist, the latest releases, or just life in general. You might report back on what you thought of the album, and generally just appreciate the whole process more. Head to a P2P for your illegal download and you’ll get none of this. Your choice I guess..

Then we get into the legality and the morality of downloading from the internet. Well it’s illegal. Full stop. Morally though? That’s up to you. Some people couldn’t give a crap about the artist who created the music, but others do, and rightfully so. If you’re listening to music, getting enjoyment out of it, you should be giving something back. That’s just my opinion. I’m not talking about bands or producers who are just starting out. There is, of course, a time when artists just need to get as many people as possible to hear their work and that’s when people should enjoy music for free. Artists lose out, small record labels fold, and independent record stores close, all because you couldn’t be bothered paying a few bucks for your music.

Number three-ish. I love music. Alot. Years ago, I didn’t love music as much. It just didn’t feature. But thanks (probably) to a lovely little record store here in Cork I now love going to buy new music. For me, it’s worth every penny and I love coming home on a Saturday evening with a new album to get me through the week. I don’t claim to have a hugely extensive music knowledge, because I don’t, but I love what I know so far. So here’s to many more years of new and old music, live gigs, in-depth discussions of an album, charming record stores, CDs, vinyl and maybe the odd song through a tinny laptop speaker.

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I know I’m like a week late with this post, as technically it should have been done some time before New Year’s Eve, because now it’s time to look ahead to 2011 and make a load of resolutions I’m never going to keep. But I like to make myself stand out from the rest of the blogosphere, and I generally achieve this by writing about a certain topic a week or two too late.

I’m not even sure what I want to say about 2010. It seemed to whizz by before my eyes and I didn’t even get a chance to properly appreciate the fact that we were into that awkward year where everyone was united by the confusion as to what it should be called. Twenty-ten or two-thousand-and-ten. That’s before you even take into account the decisions that had to be made in car salesrooms; does zero-ten make sense?

Some of the stuff that happened in 2010 seem like they were a lifetime ago, whereas other events are so clear in my memory, it’s like it was only last week. It doesn’t feel like too long ago that Plugd closed its doors on 4A Washington Street for the very last time. My 2010 began with the closure of Plugd, the death of my dog, and my ill-health. That all sounds rather drastic, but I guess it was, apart from the fact that my ‘ill-health’ was really just a bit of a virus, not helped by the other two depressing factors. I ‘rang in the new year’ from the comfort of my living room, with a quick glass of champagne before crawling back to bed.

I can’t remember January all that well, or February for that matter. Reading back on blogposts is the only way I can get a clear picture of what happened, or at least a feeling of what life was like then. I went to Maths in UCC on Saturdays; I went to a ‘Plugd’ gig in the Triskel for the first time since Plugd had closed; I worked on the magazine; I did my first outfit post; I generally went to town and had coffee with my friends.

I can’t remember much about March either, but I know I went to London. So here’s two photos from that:


On the ol' Tube..

And that's, like, Buckingham Palace.












London was good. Fun. A laugh. You get the idea. And I actually liked the whole school trip thing. There was a small enough group so we had alot of freedom and everyone got on with each other, and it really benefited our English alright, as we went under the guise of it being an ‘English trip’. I did try my best to soak up some of Shakespeare’s, I dunno, inspiration or vibes or something when we were in his house. So that could have worked, fingers crossed.

Okay, so this ‘Niamh’s life month by month’ thing is getting boring, so I’m going to give some brief summaries from now on. If you wish to read about said months in further detail you can click on the required month in the archive thing to the right..

April: Slightly crappy start; new puppy; magazine nominations for overall, design, and Plugd article; sunny days.

May: Fun with puppy, Dublin for magazine awards, staying with a friend, Poké-party, Confirmation, exams, summer.

June: June was a damn good month. New people, new places. Crappy music ‘festivals’, Cork Midsummer Festival, Dublin with the Irish Times, escape, fun, haircut by a 9-year-old, the usual..

July: Good and bad. Decisions, Kinsale, home.

August: Parents away, house to myself, Dublin, Westbury, Aviva, stupid party, door issues, some new friends and nice times. RE-OPENING OF PLUGD. Hey, this was a good month actually..

September: Sixth year. What can I say?

October: I stopped blogging so I don’t actually know what happened..

November: Again, lack of blogging. Got a virus, I think. Me that is, not the laptop. Wish it had been the shagging laptop though.

December: Missed the National, snow and ice, conquered fear of the dentist, turned 18 and danced to the house music, Christmas, shit party, good party, too much alcohol, banged my head.

I shouldn’t have done this stupid, well-laid out list thing of what happened during the year. I should have, like I normally do, babbled on about whatever popped into my mind, because that’s be a more accurate overview of my 2010. It doesn’t actually matter what happened on each and every day. What matters is the impact that 2010 left on you, what you considered important. Honestly, 2010 was, for the most part, good. But on the other hand, I’m glad to leave it behind. I’d like to think I learned some important stuff during the year, stuff that I can take with me as I travel through the voyage of life. Lol.

Seriously though, it was a good year dotted with a few bad bits, but that’s life. Highlights would be my new puppy, winning an award for my Plugd article, producing an award-winning magazine, working with the Irish Times and getting published, new camera, meeting lots of new people, new friends, old friends, living on my own, nights out, figuring out how to get the culchie bus (fuckyeah!), getting to know some family a bit better, soulmates, re-opening of Plugd and the after-party, and last but not least, turning eighteen.

I was intending on adding my soundtrack to 2010 in here, but seeing as it was one of the best and most important parts of my year it deserves a post all of its own. Later on, hopefully, and it’ll be alot more interesting than this vague and disjointed summary of twenty-ten. Or should that be two-thousand-and-ten? Whaddya think, eh?

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